E-Books and Audiobooks for Black History Month

Having a hard time choosing what books to read during Black History Month? We’ve got your back!

Black History Month books. Featuring Will, A Promised Land, The 1619 Project, and Caste.

We created a Black History Month collection in our Dogwood Digital Library for you to browse through. We have new and popular titles like Will by Will Smith, The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones, and The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee. Use your Durham Tech username and password to log in and check out books!

If you’d like to stick to this year’s Black History Month theme, which is Black Health and Wellness, you could check out Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation by Dalia Kinsey, Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance by Jessamyn Stanley, Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body by Jessamyn Stanley, and/or Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit by Mary-Francis Winters.

Book Covers of Yoke and Every Body Yoga, both by Jessamyn Stanley.

All of these books are worth reading!

As I put this collection together I realized that there were some books that really needed more attention. So, in no particular order, here are five books from our Black History Month collection that I want to highlight. I’m calling it Courtney’s Picks and next to each cover I will give you the first line or two of each so you can get a tiny taste to entice you to check it out. I’ll also explain why I picked that book below it.

Unprotected: A Memoir by Billy Porter. Narrated by the author.

“This is not a coming-out story. It’s not a down-low story either. I never could have passed for straight, even if I’d wanted to, and so I never had the dubious luxury of living a lie.”

I picked this book because, well, it’s Billy Porter. I was first introduced to his amazing talent on the television show Pose where he plays a character named Pray Tell, and have been a fan ever since. This book hasn’t been checked out yet and Billy Porter deserves better than that!

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham. Read by the author.

“I am a man in love with nature. I am an eco-addict, consuming everything that the outdoors offers in its all-you-can-sense, seasonal buffet.”

J. Drew Lanham

Black people have historically been excluded from recreational outdoor activities and are underrepresented in publishing in general. So, they are extra underrepresented in nature writing. This book is a beautiful story with amazing writing and maybe if more people read it more books like it will be published.

#VeryFat #VeryBrave by Nicole Byer. Book cover has Nicole Byer in a purple bikini.

“So okay, LET’S GET THE F*CK TO IT! I assume you picked up this book because you know who I am. If you don’t know, that’s okay; buy the book, then google me, in that order.”

Nicole Byer

F*ck was not censored in the book but this is a library blog and I’m writing this for work so better safe than sorry. I picked this book because fatphobia is bad and Nicole Byer is on a mission to help you wear a bikini without feeling bad about yourself and that is a mission I support. It also made me laugh, which I also enjoy doing.

This Long Thread: Women of Color on Craft, Community, and Connection by Jen Hewett. Book cover shows three hands of various shades of brown touching colorful threads.

“In January 2019, a blog post written by the founder of a knitting company, a white woman, went viral because of the post’s neocolonialist undertones. Many rightly criticized the post, while well-intentioned, as racist. An internet pile-on, the likes of which I’d never seen in craft social media, ensued.”

Jen Hewett

A book with survey responses from real people along with essays and artist profiles is a unique book. One about the history and contributions of women and non-binary people of color in the crafting world is super interesting. Both of these things together create a book that is readable, revealing, and important for anyone who engages in crafting in any way. Even if you just follow knitters on Instagram and have never bought yarn, or any other craft supply, in your life.

Hot Feet and Social Change: African Dance and Diaspora Communities edited by Kariamu Welsh, Esailama G. A. Diouf, and Yvonne Daniel. Forward by Thomas DeFrantz. Preface by Danny Glover, Harry Bellefonte, and James Counts Early.

“When I was in high school in San Francisco, I was lucky enough to take African dance class with Nontsizi (Delores) Cayou. I was beyond lucky, actually, to be allowed into such a space where Black lives and loves could be explored through moving alongside others.”

Thomas DeFrantz,

I enjoy dancing a lot, social dancing in particular. So many of the dances we are familiar with in the United States come from Black culture and African dances. From cakewalks and lindy hop to twerking and vogueing, most of the popular dances throughout American history originate in Black movement. This book adds cultural context to much of these popular movements so our appreciation of them can be deeper and richer.

About Courtney Bippley

Courtney is a Reference Librarian at the Main Campus Library. Her favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction. She loves dogs, coffee, and dancing.